Finnish court confirms FICORA's views on the need for local loop regulation

29 Oct 2014

Finnish telecoms regulator the Finnish Comms Regulatory Authority (FICORA) has announced that decisions issued by the country’s Supreme Administrative Court (korkein hallinto-oikeus, KHO) have confirmed its views on the need to regulate metallic and fibre-optic local loops. However, the KHO has repealed FICORA’s decision which imposed a maximum price for such connections.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month it was revealed that the FICORA had said it believed the installation and monthly rental charges for local loop unbundled (LLU) connections should be lower than the existing rates. As such, it proposed new charges for what it termed ‘the six most significant telecommunications operators in terms of leasing of broadband networks’, those being: Anvia, DNA, Elisa, KYMP, Lounea and TeliaSonera Finland. These proposals had called for a rate of no more than EUR10.70 (USD13.6) for monthly copper local loop rental, while installation charges would have been capped at EUR85. Meanwhile, with regards to fibre-optic networks the watchdog said that the monthly charge for local loops should not exceed EUR75, with installation charges no higher than EUR131. Meanwhile, December 2012 had previously seen the FICORA publish a number of decisions related to the obligations imposed on those operators deemed to have significant market power (SMP) in the local loop and wholesale broadband access markets.

Now, as per the KHO’s decision it has rejected appeals by three operators – Elisa, TeliaSonera and Anvia – with the exception of the obligations on the imposition of a maximum price. The regulator has, however, expressed disappointment with this, arguing that ‘defining in advance the maximum price charged for regulated products would improve the predictability of regulation and it would enable the market access of new entrants more efficiently than ex post control of pricing’. Nonetheless, the FICORA has said it will now halt the consultation regarding its proposals for a LLU price cap, and will begin to assess the other impacts of the KHO’s decisions, such as the possible need for ex ante regulation and on the imposition of obligations in the future.